Students collaborate on innovative solutions using the Internet of Things

Aggies Invent is known for bringing together a unique group of students and mentors for an innovative 48 hours. The most recent event, Aggies Invent: Internet of Things, did not disappoint.

In addition to students from the Texas A&M University College of Engineering, five engineering students from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, two engineering students from Belgium and an assembly of mentors from Texas Instruments and Accenture added a new perspective and depth to the weekend. As a result, innovative ideas flowed from each team.

ZO0A4221web.jpg“I really felt that we each brought a different skillset to the mix and complemented each other well on our team,” said James O’Connell, a Texas A&M mechanical engineering student. “I think because of the diversity, we all shared the workload equally and had great results.”

Aggies Invent promotes an innovation and entrepreneurial mindset among students at Texas A&M. It gathers invited students, provides them with the needs statements submitted by sponsors, allows them to self-select teams, gives them access to industry mentors and support from the Engineering Innovation Center (EIC) to create solutions and prototypes in 48 hours.

Aggies Invent: Internet of Things (IoT), focused on developing devices, processing techniques and adding intelligence to addressable devices. Texas Instruments made Aggies Invent extra special by providing all the IoT-based TI LaunchPadTM development kits, SimpleLinkTM Bluetooth® Low Energy and Wi-Fi® BoosterPack™ plug-in modules, I/O sensors and breadboards that students could possibly need, as well as the engineering mentorship and advice to go with it.

“I was amazed to witness what a group of motivated students could accomplish to solve problems that have never been addressed,” said Bart Basile, a TI systems architect and mentor for Aggies Invent. “At TI we’ve put a lot of effort into building tool ecosystems that make it easy to get started with our products. Seeing students go from idea, to concept, to working prototype in such a short time using our tools affirms that what we’re doing is helping students not just learn, but to create new solutions to real problems.”

In first place was Electrospace, an LED projector that aims to integrate time sensitive marketing techniques with LED billboards to provide more effective advertising. The team’s plan will allow companies to advertise at only the times of day that would be effective for the target customers. The first place team included Michayal Mathew, Marlyn Rosales, Pavan Shetty and Madalynn Mikkelsen.

ZO0A4103webThe second place team created portable and wireless devices to improve the laundry process, especially in shared machine settings. Its device will monitor and alert the user when their laundry is completed and also collect data for predictive maintenance on the washer and dryer. Guardian Electronics’ teammates included Alexis Crandall, Colby Ryan, Jennifer Jordan, Kristian Ecolango, James O’Connell and Millie Kriel.

GreenTech took third place with its lamp-style data collection tool for gardening and farming. Its goal was to provide a way for gardeners and farmers to get real-time soil analysis to improve the health and viability of the plants. This team was unique with four students from the college of engineering at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) and one from the University of Mons in Belgium. The TAMUCC students were Zachary Garcia, Raul Martinez, Jared Stowell and Ximena Cabrera Lehmann; Tanguy Thibaut was the student from Belgium.

HybrID received honorable mention and was awarded $250 for its efforts in a last-minute decision from the judges. Identification cards haven’t been updated in decades, so this team created a Bluetooth-based ID card and mobile app for it. The team’s goal is to make class attendance and on-campus payments simplified through its platform on college campuses. Team members included Julio Garza, William McCanless, Darryl Jacob, Carlos Castillo, Derek Richards and Kyle Bohac.

The top three teams received $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively. The EIC and Aggies Invent also offer support for students to continue working on their project.

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“The collaboration between the teams and pairing TI and Accenture to support the effort was phenomenal,” said Obi Osuorji, technology consulting senior analyst from Accenture. “I’m so happy to hear that the students benefited from our involvement, both through their comments and seeing the results through the final presentations.”

The students from Belgium commented on the format of Aggies Invent and expressed a desire to bring [U] Invent back to their university. Additionally, they were impressed with the EIC facility and everything offered within it.

“The only breaks to our imagination was ourselves, we had no limitations within the EIC,” said Thibaut. “It was a great experience.”

The judges for the weekend were Rani Dent, university recruiting manager, Texas Instruments; Steve Heinrich-Barna, IP development team manager for non-volatile memory, Texas Instruments; Bart Basile, systems architect, Texas Instruments; Sam Mallisetti, associate director, Accenture Digital Practice; and Salim Butler, senior manager, Accenture Digital Practice.